Eye tracking and the cognitive reflection test: Evidence for intuitive correct responding and uncertain heuristic responding

Zoe Purcell, Stephanie Howarth, Colin Wastell, Andrew Roberts, and Naomi Sweller


The Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) has been used in thousands of studies across several fields of behavioural research. The CRT has fascinated scholars because it commonly elicits incorrect answers despite most respondents possessing the necessary knowledge to reach the correct answer. Traditional interpretations of CRT performance asserted that correct responding was the result of corrective reasoning involving the inhibition and correction of the incorrect response and incorrect responding was an indication of miserly thinking without feelings of uncertainty. Recently, however, these assertions have been challenged. We extend this work by employing novel eye-tracking techniques to examine whether people use corrective cognitive pathways to reach correct solutions, and whether heuristic respondents demonstrate gaze-based signs of uncertainty. Eye movements suggest that correct responding on the CRT is the result of intuitive not corrective cognitive pathways, and that heuristic respondents show signs of gaze-based uncertainty.


Cognitive Reflection Test; Dual process; Eye tracking; Conflict; Uncertainty;

Published in

Memory & Cognition, vol. 81, August 2021